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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Borobodur Temple: Understanding the Journey to Nirvana

When visiting Bali, a day trip to the Yogyakarta in Central Java should NOT be missed. Borobodur and Prambanan Temple Complex are two amazing architectural wonders that represent the complex spirituality of Javanese Life.

FACT: The famous and esoteric Borobodur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, is actually the most visited site in Indonesia. Believe me, there's no more need to wonder why it holds this reputation after your trip here.

That morning, we took the earliest Garuda Indonesia Airlines flight from Denpasar, Bali to Yogyakarta.

As we were thousands of feet up in the air in Bali, this majestic volcano came into view - Mount Agung. It was the highest point in the island of the gods.

When we arrived, I immediately felt the laid-back energy of Yogyakarta. The sun was out and my mind was ready to learn more about the Javanese spiritual life.  It was indeed a glorious day.

Before reaching the immediate Temple grounds, we had a lovely breakfast in this beautiful hotel a few meters away. With my stomach full, I was ready to begin our day.

 There it was -- the Majestic Ancient Borobodur.

The Borobodur temple is a pyramid structure made from giant stone blocks. Borobodur was added to the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites in 1991. It has survived the strongest of earthquakes. Thanks to brilliant restoration efforts, Borobodur's grandeur remains for all of us to see.

As you reach each level, you will see that it would represent the various stages leading to Nirvana, a Buddhist concept that is foreign to most Catholics. The three levels of the temple all signify a different state of consciousness, from human suffering to enlightment. Our tour guide gave us a crash course about the life of Buddha and Buddhism.

All these engravings show how Buddha came to be.

Impressive artwork everywhere.

It must have taken them years to make all these intricate details.

Imagine this structure was built between 750 to 842 A.D, way before Cambodia's Angkor War's construction.

When I reached the top of the temple, I felt some sort of enlightenment myself. A huge bell-shaped stupa crowns the temple. There is no Buddha inside this stupa but no one knows if it's meant to be this way.

The Back of Borobodur.

If you want a more panoramic view of the temple, there's a trail going to a hill that will reward your "exercise".

Yes, riding an elephant can be an option.

The view of amazing Borobodur on top of the hill.

A Closer View.

When we left Borobodur, we made a quick stop in Pawon Temple (Candi Pawon). From my research, they say that this is the jewel of Javanese Temple Architecture. It was built to purify the mind before ascending Borobodur. 

Mendut Temple (Candi Mendut), another 9th century Buddhist Temple, is located in one straight line with Borobodur and Pawon. 

I want to thank our smart and accommodating tour guide for giving us an educated tour of Yogyakarta. Getting to understand the essence of Buddhism made this trip worth our while. I may be far away from Nirvana but I am sure I'll get there somehow. 

For Flights:

Check Garuda Indonesia or AirAsia to Yogyakarta.


edwin said...

As I glance over your post, I myself get the same spiritual uplifting feeling - sort of a different level of nirvana..thanks, Doc Deo..this leads me to become an adventurer soon...

deobaraanmd said...

Welcome, Edwin! :)

ina mendoza said...

who is your tour guide to Yogyakarta how much does the tour cost telephone no?